Dorinda Elliott named new Fairbank Center Executive Director

Dorinda Elliott, former Senior Vice President at the China Institute, brings over 40 years of experience in China Studies to the role

The Fairbank Center and Harvard China Fund have appointed Dorinda Elliott (AB ’80) as Executive Director, starting March 2022, Fairbank Center Director Michael Szonyi and China Fund Chair William Kirby announced today. Dorinda, or Dinda as she is known to many, brings a wealth of experience from across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and East Asia to the role.

Having studied at Harvard College with our former directors, the late Professor John K. Fairbank, Ezra Vogel, and Benjamin Schwartz, Dinda spent 15 years in East Asia as a journalist with Newsweek and Asiaweek, before becoming Global Affairs Editor at Conde Nast Traveler. She was then appointed Editorial and Communications Director at the Paulson Institute, where she spearheaded the strategic promotion of the Institute’s China-facing initiatives. Most recently, she was Senior Vice President at the China Institute in New York, the oldest bicultural, non-profit organization in the U.S. to focus exclusively on China, where she directed strategy and programing.

Harvard’s China programs shaped the way I see the world. Ezra Vogel pushed me out the door in 1978, sending me off to Taiwan with the admonition that to learn Chinese, you have to go.

Dorinda Elliott

Dinda will bring her background as a journalist, communicator, and director of programs to her new role at the Fairbank Center. Amid increasing geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China, Dinda notes, “It’s never been more crucial to convene compelling, thought-provoking programs and dialogues around China scholarship. And it’s never been more necessary to connect the dots among multiple disciplines to promote a deeper understanding of China and its relationship with the rest of the world.”

Dinda joins the Fairbank Center at a time of transition out of the COVID-19 pandemic and at an inflection point for the China Studies field. As open research on China faces restrictions, challenges, and suspicions from governments on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, the Fairbank Center aims to be at the forefront of reimagining the boundaries of our disciplines studying China, while the Harvard China Fund is committed to deepening Harvard’s academic engagement and partnerships in China.

Szonyi and Kirby observed, “As we enter the Year of the Tiger, we are inspired by the tiger’s characteristics of courage and strong leadership. We have no doubt that Dinda will embody these qualities as she joins our community. Please join us in warmly welcoming her back to Harvard.”